Fascinating Facts About The Tower of London - How Many Do You Know? (2023)

Are you ready to discover a few curious facts about the Tower of London?

The Tower of London: one of the capital’s most famous buildings and a must-do on every London bucket list.

But what secrets lie within the Tower’s walls? We’re here to tell you all about London’s famous fortress – from the gruesome revelations of recent years to fascinating tidbits we bet you never knew. You’re welcome.

Read on for the most fascinating Tower of London facts you need to know before you visit…

Interesting Facts about the Tower of London

The Tower of London Is Not Its Official Name

First of all, let’s get things straight: the Tower of London may be the name we all know and love this landmark by, but the building’s official title is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London.

Very fancy. Bit of a mouthful, though.

The Tower of London Has Ravens That Cannot Leave

The ravens that reside at the Tower of London are famed for being the guardians of the Tower – we like to think of them as always ready to spring into action, Avengers-style.

Fascinating Facts About The Tower of London - How Many Do You Know? (1)

They lodge on the South Lawn and their fun personalities can be seen when you visit the Tower – they love to mimic sounds and play games amongst each other. Try to spot them when you visit.

The current ravens have even been given adorable names: Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, Rocky, Erin, Poppy, and Georgie.

That’s all very well, but what happens if the ravens fly away, we hear you ask?

It’s all a little bit ominous – Charles II is widely believed to have been the first Royal to insist that the ravens must stay put.

If the tower is ever abandoned by its resident ravens, it’s said that the Kingdom and the Tower of London will fall. Not ideal – let’s pray they stay there, then.

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The Ceremony of The Keys is One of The Oldest Military Rituals Remaining

We’ve already written a complete guide to attending the Ceremony of the Keys here, but the historic tradition of locking up the gates at the Tower has taken place every single day in London for over 700 years.

That’s right – throughout both World Wars, while the devastating fire roared on, and even whilst the Plague was wreaking havoc on Londoners. Those Yeoman Warders (a.k.a Beefeaters) really take serving the Queen and country seriously.

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During the ceremony, the chief Yeoman Warder brings a lantern in one hand and the Queen’s Keys in the other – other guards wait in the archway of the bloody tower before the spectacle begins. It’s truly a sight to behold.

The Crown Jewels Are Kept at The Tower of London…

Despite many people thinking that they are replicas, Royal Coronation apparel – or the ‘Crown Jewels’ – have been locked away in the Tower of London ever since the 1600s.

Crowns, robes, and jewellery are amongst the memorabilia that has been held at the Tower, and when a new King or Queen is crowned, the items are carefully guarded and sent to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation.

It’s estimated that over 30 million people have visited the Tower of London to view the Crown Jewels – making them one of the most-viewed objects in the UK.

…And Contain 23,578 Gemstones

All’s well and good, but we want to know more about the bling. Boasting over 20 thousand sparkling stones, the official cost of the Crown Jewels is: zero.

That’s right, they’ve never been valued (and they’re not insured either, surprisingly) – though estimates report that they cost between 2 – 4 billion pounds.

The Tower Is Said to Be Very Haunted

If you’re looking for haunted facts about the Tower of London, you’ve come to the right place.

Fascinating Facts About The Tower of London - How Many Do You Know? (4)

Plenty of famous faces are said to haunt the walls of the Tower – and chillingly, there’s even a bear that is rumoured to appear, scaring visitors to death.

Arbella Stuart (the cousin of Elizabeth I) starved to death in the fortress’ walls and is said to still haunt the Queen’s House, whereas Anne Boleyn is reported to pop up near Tower Green, which was the site of her execution in 1536.

As well as Henry VIII’s famous lover, two small boys are said to haunt the tower.

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The ‘Princes in the Tower’ refer to King Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, who were locked in the Tower after the death of their father. The boys were believed to have been murdered way back in 1483 – though their remains were only discovered 200 years later.

It’s safe to say that you’ll need to keep your wits about you when you visit the Tower.

The Tower of London Was London’s First Zoo

The ravens aren’t the only animals that have had the pleasure of residing at the Tower of London. Between 1200s to 1835, the Tower was home to a menagerie of wild and exotic animals, and most were given as Royal gifts to the Kings and Queens that reigned.

It all began in 1235, when Henry III was gifted three Leopards (realistically, it’s far more likely that the creatures were actually lions, but we digress) and he decided to start a zoo. A polar bear was acquired in 1252 and then an African elephant joined the clan in 1255.

As you wander around the Tower’s grounds, you’ll notice sculptures of lions and other animals, paying homage to the four-legged friends that have previously lived here.

Despite Holding Famous Prisoners, The Tower Was Never Supposed to Be a Prison

Built to primarily act as a secure fortress and showcase royal power, it was never intended that the Tower of London would be a place for incarceration.

It didn’t take long, however, for the Tower to be used to hold some of the country’s most notorious prisoners – particularly, those who posed a threat to the Royals or the country. By the Tudor era, the tower was famed for being the most high-security and brutal prison in the country.

Guy Fawkes, Anne Boleyn, and even Queen Elizabeth I were all imprisoned at Her Maj’s fortress.

More recently, infamous gangsters the Kray Twins were locked up at the Tower. Though not for their murders or robberies. Oh no, the Krays were held because they punched a corporal after being called up to serve with the Royal Fusiliers.

An Escapee Once Used Invisible Ink to Flee the Tower of London

One of the most interesting facts about the Tower of London is the case of John Gerard. Gerard was arrested in 1594 – his crime? He was a Catholic Priest in a Protestant country.

Not only was he incarcerated, but he was subjected to an abundance of inhumane torture during his sentence – so much so that he came up with a cunning plan to flee the Tower.

As part of his escape plan, Gerard used orange juice as invisible ink to write secret messages to those who would help him get out. Eventually, he was successful in abseiling down the side of the Tower of London and managed to reach Uxbridge, where he continued his priestly duties.

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The Keys to the Tower Were Stolen Recently

In 2012, the staff were shaken when an intruder broke into the Tower of London and nabbed a set of keys.

Luckily, the keys weren’t for anything too important – only keys to the restaurant, conference rooms, and an internal lock to the drawbridges were stolen. Beefeaters swiftly changed the locks and avoided any unwanted visitors. Phew.

The Tower Was an Important Base During Both Wars…

When it comes to the bloody Tower of London facts, perhaps the most important was the fortress’ role in both the World Wars, during which the Tower transformed into an impenetrable military base.

During WWI, the Tower moat was the training ground for new recruits, including those who were set to join the Royal Fusiliers Regiment – and, interestingly enough, their headquarters are still at the Tower today.

During WWII, the Tower held the famous Nazi prisoner of war Rudolf Hess – who was captured after crash landing in London during a flight to Scotland. 12 spies were also executed here.

… But Was Heavily Bombed During WWII

During World War I, the Tower went largely unscathed by bombs – a very lucky feat. However, the Tower wasn’t so lucky the second time around.

In 1940, in the midst of World War II, the Tower of London was devastated by an air raid. One of the towers was bombed and completely collapsed, spilling rubble into the moat below it.

Luckily, the Tower was quickly restored and reopened to the public thereafter.

Skeletons Have Recently Been Found Underneath The Tower

As recently as 2019, two 500-year-old skeletons were discovered buried underneath the Tower of London. It’s believed that the skeletons were of an adult woman and a child, while the remains of a dog were also found nearby.

The Beefeaters and Their Families Live in The Tower of London

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The Yeoman Warders have protected the Tower of London (and the Crown Jewels) for decades, and they are very carefully selected for the service they have previously undertaken in the armed forces.

In order to become a Beefeater, you must have completed 22 years in the army – and you must be prepared to uproot your family to go and live in the Tower.

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Their uniform alone costs more than £7000 each thanks to the golden thread that decorates it – now just imagine spilling your morning coffee down that

The Tower of London Used to House the Royal Mint

For over 500 years, the Tower was home to England’s money mint – at first making each coin painstakingly by hand until technology advanced enough for a machine to be used to cut the gold instead.

The mint relocated in the 1800s, but it’s because of this Tower of London fact that the street nearby is named Mint Street.

The Tower of London Has a Secret Pub

Did you know that there’s a secret pub in the Tower? It’s called The Keys, and while it has got absolutely nothing on these historic London boozers, we think that’s pretty darn interesting.

While you won’t actually be able to sink pints here when you visit, we have it on good authority that the pub is adorned with red Beefeater logos and Royal symbols. In fact, each Yeoman Wardler has to take a two-week shift as a barman.

And yes, there’s plenty of Beefeater gin involved.

The fortress is somewhat self-sufficient, meaning it also has an on-site doctor, a church, and a village green.

The White Tower Is the Oldest (And Most Famous) Part of the Building

When you picture the Tower of London, we bet you instantly think about The White Tower – this is the oldest part of the Tower of London and the most iconic castle keep in the world.

Fascinating Facts About The Tower of London - How Many Do You Know? (6)

At the very top of the White Tower lies the original executioner’s block and axe, believed to have been used last in 1747. While the basement is thought to have been the torture chamber, where the likes of Guy Fawkes and John Gerard were taken.

There we have it, folks – 18 fascinating Tower of London facts. Go ahead and impress your friends with your newfound knowledge!

We recommend booking a tour if you want to learn more about the Tower’s grisly history – we love this one as it combines access with the Crown Jewels.

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What is a fact about the Tower of London for kids? ›

Tower of London Fun Facts

No one knows when or why they arrived, but legend has it that if any of the six birds ever leaves the Tower, the kingdom will fall. Don't scare them away! For about 500 years, the majority of England's coins were made at the Tower of London. The place where coins are made is called a 'Mint.

When was the Tower of London facts? ›

It was founded toward the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new Norman ruling class.

What is interesting in Tower of London? ›

As the most secure castle in the land, the Tower guarded royal possessions and even the royal family in times of war and rebellion. But for 500 years monarchs also used the Tower as a surprisingly luxurious palace. Throughout history, the Tower has also been a visible symbol of awe and fear.

What was the Tower of London known for? ›

Eventually the Tower became used principally as a secure store for documents, armaments and jewels, instead of prisoners. However, it still remained best known as a dark place of execution and torture. This is largely because of the Tower's growing popularity as a tourist attraction in the 19th century.

What are 10 interesting facts about England? ›

14 Interesting Facts about England
  • England is a country in the UK. ...
  • Jumping a queue can be illegal. ...
  • England fought the shortest war in history. ...
  • England is home to one of the weirdest sports. ...
  • England is mostly flat. ...
  • England is the birthplace of many famous scientists. ...
  • The National dish is an Indian food.
Mar 8, 2022

What is London's full name? ›

London, also known as Greater London, is one of nine regions of England and the top subdivision covering most of the city's metropolis.

Why is London so amazing? ›

London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with over a third of its population born in a foreign country. You can find restaurants serving national dishes from almost every country on the planet, which means you never have to go to the same place twice. 2.

How many people were murdered in the Tower of London? ›

But although there were quite a few prisoners, there were only a few executions in view of the history of the Tower of London: just over 400 people were killed here, near 1000 years of history.

Why does a girl live in the Tower of London? ›

Megan Clawson lives within the iconic Tower of London because her father is a Beefeater. She's drawn nearly 192,000 TikTok followers after posting videos of what it's like to live there.

What is hiding under the Tower of London? ›

What is hiding under the Tower of London? According to an ancient legend, there is buried treasure hidden at the Tower of London. Under Cromwell, it's said that former Lieutenant of the Tower Sir John Barkstead hid 20,000 gold coins somewhere on the grounds.

How many people live in Tower of London? ›

Who lives in the Tower of London? The Tower is home to 37 Yeoman Warders, a body of men and women drawn from the British military who each must have recorded at least 22 years of active service. Nicknamed 'Beefeaters', they have been guarding the Tower since Tudor times.

Was the Tower of London ever attacked? ›

In 1381, a rabble of peasants managed to successfully attack the Tower in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 — this was one of many battles at the Tower of London.

How old is London tower? ›

The Tower of London is a 900-year-old castle and fortress in central London that is notable for housing the crown jewels and for holding many famous and infamous prisoners.

What was the Tower of London called? ›

A wooden castle was erected at first, but in around 1075–79 work began on the gigantic keep, or 'great tower' (later called the White Tower), which formed the heart of what from the 12th century became known as the Tower of London.

How old is the Tower Bridge? ›

Who built the Tower? ›

The Tower of London is an internationally famous monument and one of England's most iconic structures. William the Conqueror built the White Tower in 1066 as a demonstration of Norman power, siting it strategically on the River Thames to act as both fortress and gateway to the capital.

Who escaped from the Tower of London? ›

Bishop Flambard was imprisoned in the White Tower by King Henry I. He invited his guards to join him for a feast of Candlemas, having smuggled in a rope in a gallon of wine. Once the guards were drunk and asleep, Flambard used the rope to make his escape by scaling down the wall of the White Tower to safety.

Can you stay overnight at the Tower of London? ›

You can stay for one night, or extend your mini break to two nights, leaving you ample time to discover the restaurants, cafes, museums, shops and other attractions and hangouts London has to offer, all from easy reach from your central location.

What are 5 interesting facts about England for kids? ›

England has a rich history.
  • London buses had a different color other than red. ...
  • England was the first country to become industrialized. ...
  • JK Rowling, who wrote Harry Potter, was born in England. ...
  • King Henry VIII wasn't always fat. ...
  • A 21-Mile Gap Separates France and England. ...
  • The United Kingdom is Not a Single Country.
Jan 13, 2022

What is England old name? ›

The name Engla land became England by haplology during the Middle English period (Engle-land, Engelond). The Latin name was Anglia or Anglorum terra, the Old French and Anglo-Norman one Engleterre. By the 14th century, England was also used in reference to the entire island of Great Britain.

Does London have a nickname? ›

The Big Smoke

The Big Smoke is perhaps the most well known of London's nicknames. London was once an industrial hotbed, with many factories all over the city.

Is London a human name? ›

London is a surname of English origin, derived from the city of London, and a unisex given name.

What does London mean for a girl? ›

The meaning of London has evolved over time, but it's generally been associated with strength, power, and a sense of adventure. London is a place of opportunity, where people from all over the world come to make their fortunes and chase their dreams.

How much is living cost in London? ›

What is the annual average cost of living in London? In 2022, for a single person, the average cost of living in London now clocks in at over £3000 per month. This is over £1000 more to find per month than the UK average. This means that the annual average cost of living in London for a single person is over £36,000.

Which city is beautiful London or New York? ›

London has more green space than New York. Although Manhattan is densely populated, it does not have many parks besides Central Park. London has a lot of open spaces and parks such as Hyde Park, and St Jame's Park, which makes it a more attractive place to live and visit for people that need green spaces.

Who killed the Twins in the Tower of London? ›

This identified Sir James Tyrrell as the murderer, acting on Richard's orders. Tyrrell was the loyal servant of Richard III who is said to have confessed to the murder of the princes before his execution for treason in 1502.

Who killed the 2 princes in the Tower? ›

The traditional version of events, dramatized in Shakespeare's 1593 play Richard III, is that the young knight Sir James Tyrrell (1455-1502), on Richard's orders, went into the princes' apartments in the tower with two men and murdered them.

Who was the last person hanged in the Tower of London? ›

Josef Jakobs (30 June 1898 – 15 August 1941) was a German spy and the last person to be executed at the Tower of London. He was captured shortly after parachuting into the United Kingdom during the Second World War.

Can you get married in the Tower of London? ›

This spectacular heritage-listed landmark has a large variety of spaces that will ensure the most incredible backdrop and atmosphere for your central London wedding. The tower is also fully licensed for ceremonies, meaning you can legally marry surrounded by the thousand-year-old fortress.

Are there prisoners in the Tower of London? ›

The last state prisoner to be held in the Tower, Rudolf Hess, the deputy leader of the Nazi Party, in May 1941. The last person to be executed in the Tower, Josef Jakobs, Nazi spy, shot by a firing squad on 15 August 1941. The last people to be held in the Tower, the Kray twins.

Why are there monkeys at the Tower of London? ›

They are a nod to the heritage of the Tower. Medieval Kings around Europe used to give each other rare and exotic animals as gifts. It was relatively common for great Kings and aristocratic rulers to have a menagerie of wild animals. Emperor Charlemagne had one as far back as the 8th century!

What is a fact about London Tower Bridge? ›

The bridge was completed in 1894. It is about 240 metres (800 feet) in length and provides an opening 76 metres (250 feet) wide. Its twin towers rise 61 metres (200 feet) above the Thames. Between the towers stretch a pair of glass-covered walkways that are popular among tourists.

How many people cross London Bridge in a day? ›

Over 40,000 people cross the bridge every day

This is excluding the 800 times that the bascules raise to let ships through.

Who was kept prisoner in the Tower of London? ›

Robert Dudley (later Earl of Leicester)

A young Robert Dudley, childhood friend of the Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I), was imprisoned in the Tower of London in the aftermath of his father's plot to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne. Dudley was probably placed in the Beauchamp Tower, alongside his three brothers.

How long can you stay in the Tower of London? ›

Most people who choose to visit the Tower of London will spend at least 15-30 minutes in line waiting to see the Crown Jewels. Plan on setting aside at least 45-60 minutes for the entire experience. Many visitors recommend setting aside at least 3 hours to see the entirety of the Tower of London.

How much money does the Tower of London make? ›

TOP tourist destination the Tower of London has helped earn the country 1 billion in revenue from overseas tourists last year according to a VisitBritain survey.

Can you live in Tower Bridge? ›

Saviour's Dock and Tower Bridge has some of the most exclusive flats for young couples. Young couples living in Tower Bridge have the advantage of being close to the City, the financial district of Canary Wharf and Central London.

Who won the war on Tower? ›

The Tower after the war

On 8 May the allied forces declared Victory in Europe and the celebrations that followed became known as VE day.

Why is it called the Bloody Tower? ›

The Bloody Tower consists of an upper and lower chamber. It derives its name from the 1560s when the two princes are believed to have been murdered by their uncle Richard III in the upper chamber.

Who lost their heads in the Tower of London? ›

The beheaded queens

Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, was in her early 30s and Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife, was barely in her 20s. Both were accused of adultery, but neither may have been guilty. The third queen to meet her end within the Tower was 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey.

What was the Tower of London originally called? ›

A wooden castle was erected at first, but in around 1075–79 work began on the gigantic keep, or 'great tower' (later called the White Tower), which formed the heart of what from the 12th century became known as the Tower of London.

What is special about London Bridge? ›

Tower Bridge is famous because it's London's most striking bridge thanks to its Neo-Gothic architecture and lifting central sections. When it opened, it was the most sophisticated bascule bridge in the world.

Can you live inside the Tower of London? ›

Who lives in the Tower of London? The Tower is home to 37 Yeoman Warders, a body of men and women drawn from the British military who each must have recorded at least 22 years of active service.


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